Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2017

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Julie Gallagher is managing editor of Specialty Food Magazine. A recording of the full session, "Peeking into the Future of Food Safety," held at the 2017 Summer Fancy Food Show, can be found at learning.specialtyfood.com @ specialtyfood.com "Food safety isn't the cost of doing business, it's actually a profit center," said Garfield, who is responsible for managing FMI's food safety and management program, the Safe Quality Food Institute. "It's about keeping your products and brands safe and doing things within the company to make more profit. Where management is committed to food safety, recalls and market withdrawals are lowered and efficiencies are increased." The advice comes as food safety recalls are on the rise due to advances in DNA sequencing, according to Garfield. He explained that if someone were to get sick in San Francisco and doctors determine from a fecal sample that the cause is a pathogen, they'll send the sample to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The pathogen may then be linked to other samples, via genome sequencing. "They can look at those samples and match them up and all of a sudden, people in San Francisco, Houston, and Miami can be linked to the same type of pathogen," Garfield said. The CDC will then alert the Food and Drug Admin- istration and state inspectors will be sent to interview the patients to find out what they ate. If a trail is linked to your business, said Garfield, "10 inspectors will come from the FDA, they'll shut you down and then start going through your product, your machinery, talking to your people, and spending two weeks at your facility." When this process first started, it was hit or miss, but DNA sequencing has become spot on and it's very advanced. The good news is they're spotting the problems more quickly, which is preventing people from getting sick. The bad news is they're get- ting to companies more quickly when they find a problem where maybe just three people got sick," Garfield said. Advances in information dissemination and the importance with which these occurrences are approached is also lightyears ahead of where it was in the past, added Garfield. "Thirty years ago, when there was a recall it may have gotten on the evening news. Today, in about an hour, 40 million people know about it." As small food businesses work to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act this September, and very small busi- nesses set their sights on compliance in 2018, they can improve their preventive controls by focusing on the following, said LeAnn Chuboff, vice president of technical affairs, SQFI: 1. Gain management's support in adopting a culture of food safety. Chuboff provided as an example an observation she made while on vacation and having a drink at a bar. "A server came and took a broken wine glass out of the dishwasher. She didn't know where the glass broke but instantly she turned to her partner and said 'this well is closed.' She had the tools to clean it—a hose to jet hot water and melt the ice, and the commitment, and time, and the guts to close down that well during a very busy time. You need to train your employees and encourage that proper behavior at all levels in your facility," Chuboff advised. 2. Conduct internal audits. "You need to be harder on yourself than you ever need to be when an auditor comes in. Take the time, identify the issues, follow up on them, and implement corrective action," Chuboff asserted. 3. Identify the root cause of any problems identified. "An auditor wrote up a report stating that a company's employees weren't washing their hands. So, the QA person said, 'I'm going to train them to wash their hands,' and the auditor said, 'It's not that they don't know how to wash their hands, it's that they're not washing their hands,'" said Chuboff. The root of the problem was limited access to a sink, as there was only one sink for 30 employees. "Keep going until you find the reason why," she urged. 4. Gain a winning attitude. "In the book, 'The Cubs Way,' it talks about a change in management due to a winning attitude embedded into the organization," she explained. "It looked at a cultural change that said "'we're winners, not loveable losers.'" "Food safety isn't the cost of doing business, it's actually a profit center. Where management is committed to food safety, recalls and market withdrawals are lowered and efficiencies are increased." FALL 2017 87 article bug

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